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Kurdistan Region launches two electricity projects in Makhmour

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Monday launched two electricity projects in Makhmour district worth over one billion dinars. The projects are expected to improve the strained grid in the area.

The Bnar power station was built by the Girshin Company for the district, according to a statement from the KRG. A power-line was also launched in the Qaraj plains.

Both projects “will improve electricity supply and reduce pressure on existing power lines,” it added.

Located in Erbil province, Makhmour district lies in territory whose control is disputed by Erbil and Baghdad. The lack of electricity has previously angered villagers, forcing them to consider leaving their houses.

Iraq and the Kurdistan Region suffer from chronic electricity shortages and dilapidated infrastructure. The failure of successive Iraqi and Kurdish governments to alleviate the chronic shortages since the 2003 war has been a near constant source of public anger.

The Kurdistan Region can generate 6,902 megawatts of power, but it only manages to generate between 3,400 and 3,500 megawatts “due to fuel shortages and high costs,” the Ministry of Electricity said in a July report. Losses were particularly high in 2014 and 2015 with the start of the Islamic State (ISIS) war in Iraq.

The KRG provides less than 12 hours of electricity during summer, with the public heavily relying on privately owned generators with which one can only use basic electronics which require just a few amps. The Region approved a decision to privatize the electricity distribution in May last year but it has not been fully implemented yet.